Friday, October 17, 2014

An October Life

Don't you just love October? Maybe it is silly to qualify months and rate them in order of goodness. If it is then forgive me for my upcoming silliness but October truly is the greatest month. The colors alone are worthy of the top spot. The landscape (at least up north which is also the greatest place to live - and yes, I'm a bit biased on that point) takes on the characteristics of a painters canvas brushed with golden hues of red, orange, brown and yellow. When the wind whips between the leaves the magnificent color display sways as if to the rhythm of an imaginary orchestral accompaniment. This is the beauty of nature that can only be found in the blessed month of October.
L. M. Montgomery said it best when she breathed a classic line into a young girl named Anne. "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." My only regret about that famous line is that I didn't think of it first. It is the perfect summation of the month of October and of life itself. Because the beauty of October doesn't end at the leaves and the weather and the sweet scent of spiced candles and apple cider. October captures the essence of beauty because it is the perfect picture of life.
October boasts beautiful colors and crisp air but it also boasts some not-so desirable characteristics. October can bring with it grey skies, pounding rains and unpredictable temperatures. One day you can be surrounded by the perfect humidity, perfectly blue sky and gorgeous golden trees and the next day a storm can roll in that send the air into a fit of fierce wind and torrential rains. October brings with it a lingering uncertainty. Will winter come early? Will the leaves be torn to the ground before kids get to trick-or-treat? In Northern Pennsylvania the question of snow even enters the conversation of weather predictors.
This isn't just the story of October, it is the story of the life hidden with Christ. It is an unpredictable ride. There are ups and downs and countless unknowns. One day can be all sun and the next can be overcast and totally covered with dark clouds. When you and I entrust our lives into the hand of God we aren't signing up for a month like August where high humidity, blazing hot sun and green grass are to be expected. We're singing on for October and October is anything but predictable.
Despite all of these unknowns I can say with confidence that I am so glad I live a life hidden with Christ, a life like the month of October. Even when the circumstances of my life turn grey and the storm clouds roll in I can hang on to the beauty that even the roughest of weather is part of God's plan for my life. The trials and storms are part of a bigger picture, they are necessary for the changing of life's seasons and turning of the leaves. I can look out my window on this month of October and be reminded that without the cold snaps the green leaves never turn bright gold. Without the rain the pumpkins don't grow. And without the wind I would never get to see the beautiful display of swaying colors on the hillside.
The storms, the sun and every change of weather in between are part of God's plan for this beautiful world I get to enjoy. And the storms and sun of life are part of God's master plan for my good, too. They are there to bring about necessary change in my soul and sometimes to change the trajectory of my life's course. God uses the challenges of life to strengthen my faith and assurance in His omnipotence and sovereignty. He uses the storms to break my will and my pride. He uses the storms to draw my focus back to His face.
I'm so glad that God has turned my life into one big October, my favorite of all months. No matter how difficult this journey may feel - and some days it feels overwhelmingly trying - I can look to the promises of God and the lesson in the month of October: there will be ups and downs but God is doing something beautiful. All I have to do is look at the trees and the changing leaves to be reminded that God is doing a work in me and if I let Him have His mighty way He can make me as beautiful as the month of October.

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